Even though everybody does laundry, sales of detergents have been down in the past year. Procter & Gamble is hoping to add a dose of excitement, and brighten sales, with the introduction of Tide Pods—a product P&G considers its biggest laundry innovation in more than 25 years, according to Ad Age.
These tablets have three chambers of liquid detergent covered by a plastic film. The manufacturer claims the Pods are twice as concentrated as Tide liquid and contain only 10 percent water, compared to 50 percent in Tide Ultra liquid. Water content was reduced partly so the plastic film, which is water soluble, can dissolve in cold water. P&G will offer samples of Tide Pods this July, and the product will be on store shelves nationwide in September, priced in the range of other Tide detergents.
Single-use laundry tablets have been tried before—and failed. Remember Salvo? Ad Age does: “The launch is a big risk for a U.S. market that has resisted all laundry tablets up to now, dating to the 1960s, when P&G launched Salvo tablets. Like other laundry tab brands that followed, Salvo disappeared from the market by the 1970s.”
“This one product can be used for both top-loading washers or high-efficiency washers,” says Petra Stovickova, a spokesperson for P&G. Typically appliance manufacturers recommend high-efficiency (HE) detergents, which make fewer suds, for front-loading washers and HE top-loaders. Conventional detergents are usually best for standard top-loaders—machines with agitators.
Since Tide Pods aren’t sold at retail we haven’t tested them. And whether P&G’s $150 million marketing effort turns consumers into Pod people, well that remains to be seen. But in our Ratings of dozens of conventional and HE detergents, Tide takes the top spots. See how other brands performed by checking our Ratings.